I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Revisions of the written, spiritual, and, well, closet sort.

<--See that? It’s a photo of my newly cleaned out walk-in closet.

Let’s take a moment to admire my Martha Stewart-like abilities. I’m not sure the photo does it justice. Trust me, this closet is like something from Real Simple or one of those other home organization type magazines. In fact, they should probably feature me in a cover piece. That is, as long as they don’t look in my coat closet…or office closet…or kitchen cupboards.

Okay, boasting over. Cue the confessions: Yes, this closet looks beautiful. Yes, I was so proud of my organizational efforts, I literally sat on the floor of the closet at 1 a.m. admiring my handiwork.

Yes…this late-night project was the result of a writer’s breakdown.

It’s true: I freaked out over the weekend. I decided my current WIP is a joke, the plot’s a mess and the characters as shallow as any one of the High School Musical movies. (Sorry, Zac.) Things just weren’t clicking for Writer Melissa that night. I got frustrated. I didn’t handle it well. And while outwardly I vented by cleaning – admittedly better than snack-binging or head-bashing, sure –  inwardly I thought all the wrong thoughts.

I’ll never write as good as So-and-So.

Mr./Ms. Editor/Agent is going to laugh at the fact that they ever requested my proposal.

I. Stink. At. This.

The thing is, as my mental merry-go-round whirled in a blur of negativity, I knew my thoughts were wrong. I knew I was allowing Satan to lie to me. And I knew what I needed to do to set things right: Pray. Spend time in God’s Word. Take my thoughts captive.

But I didn’t. Instead, I muttered my way through a closet cleaning. (What’s extra sad here is usually, nerdy as it sounds, I love cleaning out my closet. This time? Not so much.)

When I woke up the next day, discouragement still tugged at my heart, but worse was the regret at my mindset of the night before…my failure to take the mature mental path. But God – like He always does when our hearts are open even a crack – reminded me that I always have the opportunity to begin again.

Just like I’ll be revising my way through my WIP in the next month, I have the opportunity to revise my behavior, my thought life, my actions on a daily basis. Just like my closet makeover, God is willing and able to make over me. He is the ultimate Revision-ist, more than able to take what’s rough and sand it smooth.

So that’s what I’ll be thanking God for this Thanksgiving – second and third and bazillionth chances on this road to becoming not only the writer, but the woman, He means for me to be. I pray you’ll find encouragement in God’s faithfulness during the revision process, too.

Let’s chat: How does God encourage you during the revision process – either in your writing or life in general?                                                                                                                   


  1. Well, I don't clean my closet out, I'll tell ya that. Probably should though and a lovely closet you have indeed! :)

    When I get the I-stink-this-is-a-joke attitude, I put my WIP away, and I read a Psalm and listen to worship music, while baking a pan of brownies. (For my kids--yeah right)

    Usually, after whining a while God gives me a breakthrough, a pep talk reminding me, He's in my corner and I don't stink. I just need to wipe out a few adverbs.

    Loved this post, Melissa. Anyone can see you have a gift for writing. Duh! ;)

  2. Fabulous, Melissa. I won't take a photo of my crowded closet, & my plots get crowded, too--hmmm . . . I know you (& Zac) will make it. Blessings!

  3. Brownies, that's what I forgot, Jess!! But yeah, reading a Psalm and listening to worship music would've been a much better way to handle my bad attitude. :)

  4. Hey, I should've asked everyone to submit closet photos, Dee. That would've been fun. But believe me, before my little cleaning session there's no way I would've snapped a photo. Slightly untidy. :)

  5. You wouldn't want to see a photo of my closet. Better yet, seeing what was in my closet would make you giggle, MTagg. You'd have to read my guest interview Keli Gwyn's blog for that tidbit. ;)

    My headspace is in a serious need of a makeover. Some life issues right now have me really done. I know God will provide. I know He is the God of Hope. I know He has a plan. If I know all of these things, why do I keep attaching a "but" to those statements??

    I asked for hope yesterday and God supplied in the form of an email from my editor. He knows what's going on in our lives. I may be wanting him to hurry up a little, but He knows best.

    Thanks for another encouraging post!

  6. I'll have to read that interview, Lisa, because now I'm curious about your closet!

    Praying for the "life issues" that have you down. You're right, God will provide...in His time...but I sure know what it's like wishing He'd speed up his timing. Praying, friend! And glad you got an encouraging email. :)

  7. Melissa,
    I love everything you write.
    A blog post.
    A comment on a blog post.
    And email.
    You. Rock.
    I read your stuff and think, "I want to write like Melissa."
    (I am not just saying, er, typing this.)
    And then I realize you're doing a great job being Melissa the Writer. A fabulous job.
    Next time your stuck in a closet talking to yourself, call me.
    And thanks for the spiritual truth you shared ... it speaks to a lie so many people believe. Me, included.

  8. Uh, could I borrow you for a bit, Melissa? My office could realllllly use some organizing.

    One of the things I've learned in life is that God is never early, but neither is He ever late. But sometimes waiting on His perfect timing is very difficult.
    Great post, Melissa...very encouraging!

  9. Beth, you encourage me so, so very much! I can't tell you how many times I've thanked God for your sweet spirit...

    And Pat, you too! I'm so happy we met a couple years ago in Florida!

    Sometimes I think about how blessed I am to have such incredible people in my life...so, so blessed...

  10. Melissa,

    You do write as well as So-and-so! But being published is all part of God's timing. So don't you wonder what it is you have to do or learn first? What habit(s) do you need to acquire or instill within yourself? Something to think about.

    Anyway, I can't wait until that day arrives when you are published. You'll have a lot of happy readers, including me!

  11. Next time you're feeling discouraged, come visit me. Not only will I allow you to organize my closets, I'll play my The Bible Experience audio Bible for you, so you'll have the best of both worlds. And when you're done, I'll send you to the beach with a cookie. How's that? :-) I echo what Beth said--I love even your comments on blogs. :-)

  12. Roxanne, you are wise! :) God's timing trumps all!

    Perfect combo, Jenness...organizing and Bible listening. And the incentive of the beach AND a cookie AND getting to hang out with you, it's seriously too much to resist. So, uh, see you soon. :)